What to do if You See a Black Bear While Camping Over the Holiday

Black bears are less aggressive than brown or grizzly bears.

By Michael MarksNovember 23, 2016 1:42 pm

Campsites are full across Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday – at time to share food with friends and family. But it’s safe to say the average tourist visiting Big Bend Park this season doesn’t want to share their tent and food with a true local of the west Texas wilderness: the black bear.

Despite their perilous place on the state’s endangered species list, three-dozen black bears are currently roaming the Chisos Mountains that span across Big Bend’s vast landscape – more bears than anywhere else in the state.

The bears have an insatiable appetite for just about all fruit, meat and vegetables. And that can spell a conflict of interest among bears and campers cooking up their supper. According to wildlife biologist Raymond Skiles, campers shouldn’t be too concerned.

“To start with, understand that bears very rarely approach when people are present so that’s a very rare occurrence,” Skiles says.

It’s important to understand the differences in bear species when camping. Black bears are not brown or grizzly bears—they’re generally less aggressive and more hesitant to approach people. But if they do decide to check out your campsite, Skiles says that you have options other than hurting the animal.

“Certainly we encourage people to make noise, throw things, act like we’re in charge here and run these animals out of sight,” Skiles says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How the black bear population has rebounded since nearing the brink of extinction
– The likelihood of a Big Bend encounter with a bear
– How to conduct yourself around bears

Post by George Economos.